Branding Insights

Brand of the Month: Cracker Barrel

19 Sep , 2017  

This is a new addition to my blog. Every month I will highlight one notable brand, an example of branding best practices. Expect to see a wide range of brands over the coming year. If you have a nomination, send me an email at t-calkins@northwestern.edu   Perhaps the most important marketing lesson is this: you can’t […]

Career Advice

Back to School: Advice for Students

6 Sep , 2017  

It is back to school time! All around the world, students are organizing school supplies, looking forward to seeing old friends and becoming sleepless with the excitement of a new academic year. It is a universal experience shared by pupils of all ages. My daughter Anna started school yesterday, and my MBA students at Northwestern […]

Branding Insights

The High Cost of Poor Service

23 Aug , 2017  

Strong businesses are built on great customer service. When people are happy, they come back and provide endorsements. They may even be willing to pay more when they can anticipate superior treatment. Poor customer service, on the other hand, does enormous damage; it can destroy a business. Customers don’t return, forcing a company to constantly attract new customers, an expensive and […]

Brands in the News

Branding Observations from a Trip to Europe

2 Aug , 2017  

A few thoughts while flying back from a quick trip across the pond. I spent a few days with my family in three wonderful and historic cities: Prague, Paris and Florence. Macron and the Power of Hope Things feel upbeat in Paris. We had dinner with several different French families, and all expressed excitement and […]

Brands in the News

Learning from Kermit’s Downfall

24 Jul , 2017  

Last week Disney fired the voice of Kermit the Frog. Steve Whitmire had played the famous green frog for the past 27 years. As he said in an interview, “Playing Kermit is my life.” While details are a bit sketchy, it appears that Whitmire was a difficult employee. He refused to perform at certain events and […]

Brands in the News

The Value of a Polished Annual Report

6 Jul , 2017  

We are near the end of annual report season. If you own many individual stocks, by now you have received a flood of reports and proxy statements. Some people get excited about spring because of baseball and flowers; I look forward to reading about different companies. It is interesting to see how firms approach this annual […]

Career Advice

Branding Advice for Graduates

14 Jun , 2017  

It is graduation time, an exciting and festive part of the year. Here at the Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, students are trying on robes and getting ready for the commencement ceremonies later this week. Recently I provided some financial advice for graduates. This article is to offer advice on building a strong personal brand. It is […]

Career Advice

Financial Advice for Graduates

1 Jun , 2017  

In less than two weeks, more than 500 students will graduate from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. While I teach marketing strategy and branding, each year I provide some financial advice to the graduates. If you follow my blog this will be familiar. Some things change over the years, but the core concepts remain. Save […]

Branding Insights

Beer and the Power of Branding

8 May , 2017  

One of the benefits of being a professor at Kellogg is that you get to participate in  student events. Recently the Brew n Q club invited me to join them for a beer tasting. I shared some thoughts on branding in the beer industry to kick things off, then we sampled the beer. The event […]

Brands in the News

United’s Branding Disaster

10 Apr , 2017  

Yesterday United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger from an overbooked flight. Other passengers captured the incident on video. You can watch it here. A Huge Problem It is hard to overstate how bad this is for United. Let’s review what happened: – United boards too many people and won’t offer enough money to entice someone to take a later […]